The matter only came up once. The cashier rang up the other items, came upon a My Little Pony toy, and asked, “For the grandchild?”
“No, actually, it’s mine,” I replied. An eyebrow was raised to bangs level, maybe a smidgen higher; but nothing more was said, and nothing since has been said.
So I wasn’t too flabbergasted when Target announced they were moving away from “gender-based” signage:
Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Historically, guests have told us that sometimes for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.
This may benefit the 13-year-old boy who shudders every time he enters the pink aisles full of Barbie and Dora. But that boy isn’t me, and I’m figuring Hasbro will take this in stride:
To stay alive in marketing is to stay ahead of the game. Target may not have shifted the game in any noticeable way, but it has definitely “planted the plunderseeds” for the future. It’s possible that Hasbro’s future toy designs will have a little less pink and white than today’s designs. It’s also possible that nothing is going to change, and Target might roll back their choice in the coming years if it makes shopping more confusing and unfavorable towards its customers. However I have faith that Target’s choice is the beginning of something huge. Whether it’s the discussion of the social stigmas surrounding children’s toys, or an outright challenge to those by one toy company at a time, I can’t wait for what happens next.
Trust me on this: if the kids are along for the shopping trip, they’ll find the toys they want, whether you want them to or not.
(If you’re not familiar with the concept of the blind bag, this will help.)